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Tony Gonchar to head up ASTA

Tony Gonchar to head up ASTA

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has set its sights on the next level with news of the appointment of industry veteran and marketing guru Tony Gonchar as the new CEO.

Gonchar will take up the role at the world’s largest association for travel professionals on 3 January 2011, and brings more than 25 years of experience. He will leverage his successful leadership roles in strategic planning, marketing and branding, sales management, as well customer recognition and retention in taking ASTA to the next level and maintaining its position as the foremost travel trade association. Gonchar’s first day will be Jan. 3, 2011.

Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair, said: “ASTA is excited to introduce Tony Gonchar as the incoming CEO. He has an extensive background in many different facets of the industry. I have said we need a strong ASTA for the future, and we believe Tony gives us the ability to change with the industry to be strong now and in the future.”

(Hands on training at ASTA’s The Trade Show 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Next year’s event will be held in Las Vegas, 11-13 September)

Tony Gonchar said: “I am honored and excited to have been selected for this position. I look forward to building upon the 75-year history of ASTA’s relevancy and value to its members and the travel industry.”

In 2007, Gonchar was appointed executive vice president of sales and marketing at Virtuoso, the global luxury travel consortium, where he was responsible for the company’s member and supplier relationships, as well as all marketing programmes and strategy.

(ASTA holds candid members only meetiing with Paul Ruden, Chris Russo, Ellen Bettridge, John Pittman and Colin Tooze)

Prior to working at Virtuoso, Gonchar spent seven years at Expedia running its private label and branded partnerships division. There, he was responsible for the identification, negotiation and execution of partnerships, acquisitions and integrations with smaller technology startups, as well as major multinational corporations. Additionally, he oversaw product planning, business development, account management, partner marketing, operations and public relations for the firm.

Most recently, he was a consultant for Microsoft, where he was responsible for building a CRM strategy for the online Microsoft Store division.

Prior to working in the travel industry, Gonchar was a database marketing partner for Bozell, and a manager of direct marketing for Bank of America. Gonchar received his B.A. in economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.